Our team is dedicated to inspiring a passion for reading among some of the nation’s neediest children. Learn more about the outstanding individuals leading the way at Book Trust:
Amy Friedman, Executive Director
Ms. Friedman joined Book Trust in April 2011. During Amy’s tenure, Book Trust has nearly doubled its footprint across the nation and today serves 36,000 students in 15 states. Prior to working at Book Trust Amy worked in the Denver Public Schools where she began her career as an English as a Second Language classroom teacher and spent several years in various key leadership roles, including Chief of Staff to the Superintendent.
Amy brings a wealth of experience in public education and a strong leadership background to Book Trust. Amy is thrilled to have the opportunity to lead an organization committed to her passion---creating better lives for kids in poverty through education. She believes that Book Trust provides the opportunity to change the lives of underprivileged children by empowering them to choose and own books so that they read more, become better readers, and go onto succeed in school and life.
Amy is a graduate of Georgetown University where she received a BS in Linguistics and a MAT in Teaching English as a Second Language.
Favorite children's books: The Fuzzy Duckling (Jane Werner Watson), The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein), and A Fish Out of Water (Helen Palmer Geisel)
Current Top Picks: The Red Tent (Anita Diamant), Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese), and State of Wonder (Ann Pratchett)
Linda Mitchell, Vice President of Development
Linda joined Book Trust as the Vice President of Development in the summer of 2014, after a lengthy career at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She brings a wealth of fundraising knowledge including corporate partnerships development, individual giving procurement and event management. At Book Trust, Linda leads the Development team in establishing annual and long-terms goals as well as strategies for the sustainability of the organization. A second generation Colorado native, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and another in Journalism from Metropolitan State University. Moreover, she maintains certifications in grant making, volunteer and event management and arts financing.
Favorite children’s book : Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney) because like the fictional Miss Alice Rumphius, Linda is looking to make the world a more beautiful place.
Donna Frost, Director of Finance and Operations
Donna is responsible for all financial administration including business planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analysis. Her non-profit experience includes working at a contemporary art museum directing all financial, accounting and human resource operations. Prior to that, she worked for a local philanthropist/entrepreneur to manage all non-profit and philanthropic giving objectives and political candidate committee reporting. She believes books spark the imagination in children to help them to become lifelong learners. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Admin from Regis University with an emphasis in Management and Human Resources.
Donna’s commitment to the nonprofit community is summed up in her favorite quote from The Lorax “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better . It’s not.” . . .
Favorite children’s books: Are You My Mother? (P D Eastman) and Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)
Shay Belisle, Hawaii Director
Shay joined Book Trust early in January 2015 as Hawaii Director. Born and raised on the islands, Shay is passionate about engaging the Hawaii community in Book Trust’s mission to enrich the lives of underprivileged children through the joy of reading. Prior to joining Book Trust, Shay was Development Director at Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center and worked with the Merwin Conservancy. Shay went to Pepperdine University where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Communications and later earned her Master’s in Creative Writing from Mills College.
Favorite children's book: Matilda (Roald Dahl)
Current Top Picks: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie), The Glass Castle (Janette Walls), Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)
Michelle Striker, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
Michelle joined Book Trust in 2011. Michelle has extensive marketing and fundraising experience in the nonprofit community and has worked to enrich diverse communities throughout the metro Denver area for the last decade. In Michelle’s role at Book Trust, she is leading the effort to engage Colorado philanthropists in Book Trust’s mission to change the lives of underprivileged children. Michelle graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver.
All time favorite children's book: The BFG (Roald Dahl)
Beth Sundberg, Program Director
Beth joined Book Trust in the summer of 2013 as the Program Director. In this role, Beth is responsible for providing support to Book Trust teachers across the country. She has a background in both the non-profit sector and elementary education. As an educator Beth taught high school in rural Japan, worked as a reading tutor, and taught first grade. Beth believes that learning to read and having access to books is fundamental to a child’s success. And she credits her own first grade teacher, Sarah Seeker, with giving her the passion for reading.
Beth has an undergraduate degree in Comparative Politics from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in Instruction and Curriculum with an emphasis in Reading from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Favorite Children’s Books: Chrysanthemum (Kevin Henkes) and Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Felix Ortiz, Communications Manager
Felix joined Book Trust as Communications Manager in the summer of 2014. He is responsible for implementing the organizational communications plan, as well as publications design, social media management, website administration and email marketing. Felix brings many years of experience in PR and communications. His career highlights include serving two city council offices, the largest school nursing association in the United States and operating a consulting practice that aided non-profits. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Denver, Felix earned a Bachelor's in Communication and Theater and a Master's in Communication with an emphasis in PR.
Favorite children’s books: Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak), Curious George (Margret Rey and H.A. Rey) and John Henry: An American Legend (Ezra Jack Keats).